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14 tips for creating a paperless office

Paul Mah | March 27, 2014
Half a century after marketers coined the term 'paperless office,' the concept largely remains a myth. Today's businesses probably can't go completely paperless, but these 14 tips will at least help them stop wasting paper and start improving productivity.

10. Digitizing paper notes and printed literature makes it easy to share documents electronically and lowers the temptation to make photocopies. Aside from network scanners, recent years have seen the rise of "personal" scanner meant for small group or even individual use. The portable flatbed Doxie Flip scanner, for example, can capture what's written in notebooks and other content that may not fit through the feeder of a conventional sheet-fed scanner.

11. Optical character recognition (OCR) software turns the static images or PDF files created by hardware scanners into editable files that are substantially more useful. For example, ABBYY FineReader turns PDF files and digital photographs into Microsoft Word, Excel or searchable PDF formats.

12. For the inevitable paperwork that must be printed, using both sides can cut paper usage by half. Printers that support duplex printing today are highly reliable and available at just a slight premium over non-duplex capable models. In fact, many mid-end printers set this feature as default.

Up the Ante on Paperless Productivity

Of course, digitizing paper isn't just about reducing waste. In many cases, digitized notes offer the convenience of being searchable and occupy no physical space when stored as binary bits on a storage drive. Why not take it to the next level and attempt to increase personal productivity through the use of digitization technologies?

13. On this front, a variety of smartphone apps, including CamCard and WorldCard Mobile, will capture the content of business cards and generate a digital contact.

14. Meanwhile, for businesses that don't own a hardware scanner, apps such as TurboScan and Scanner Pro can capture documents with a smartphone's build-in camera. These files can be subsequently uploaded to a cloud storage service, where they can be shared and subsequently viewed from a smartphone or tablet.

Successfully reducing the use of paper isn't a one-time event. It's a series of continuous efforts to move away from paper and establish a culture that frowns on waste. Re-architecting business processes to reduce paper usage is an unavoidable activity, but adopting the right tools can go a long way toward creating an environment to support the paperless office.

Ultimately, businesses shouldn't stop at eliminating paper but should push for greater digitization in order to reap its full benefits.

 

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